By Veronica K. Masinde
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi has visited NLA University College in Norway, with a team of academic staff from the School of Journalism, Media and Communication (SJMC), headed by Prof. Monica B. Chibita (the Principal Investigator). The visit is to consolidate the NORHED II partnership between Uganda Christian University (UCU), NLA University College, University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and the University of Rwanda.
A key objective of the visit is to officially launch the NORAD funded project, which will support joint research project teams, improve library and teaching infrastructure; and also, the launch of a Ph.D. degree in Journalism, Media and Communication at UCU, as well as an MA in Journalism and Communication at the University of Rwanda.
The current project is a follow-up on the NORHED I project that ended in 2019, from which UCU through the School, formerly Department of Mass Communication, received a Shs 4.7bn ($1.3 million) grant for staff capacity building.
It must be noted that the UCU SJMC received a grant worth UGX 8.4 billion, under the NORHED II, to start a Ph.D. programme in Communication and media studies in 2022. The PhD will be the first of its kind in Uganda, and the first of a very few within East Africa, to bridge the training gap at that level within the region.
Additionally, the programme will strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in the developing world, to produce higher quality graduates, research and to promote a more inclusive educational landscape.
“This [grant] means a lot to us [as a faculty], UCU and the East Africa Region. A quality Ph.D. programme will ensure quality graduates and will contribute to a robust research culture,” said Prof. Chibita, during an interview she gave the New Vision newspaper, in January 2021, upon UCU winning the grant.
Courtesy of the same grant, the University of Rwanda, has managed to roll out the first Master’s degree in Media and Communication in the country- Rwanda.
Other project team members (from UCU) on the visit include Dr. Annette Kezaabu, the Head of Postgraduate Studies and Research in the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, and Joseph Kiva who is a Lecturer in the same School, and project teams from all the partner universities.